TUESDAY, June 23, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have documented that the rare bone and soft tissue cancer Ewing's sarcoma disproportionately strikes white people.
What's more, among whites who have the disease, males are more likely to die from it than females, according to a study published online June 22 in Cancer.
Led by Dr. Sean Scully of the University of Miami, the researchers analyzed more data spanning more than 30 years from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program, the largest source for cancer statistics in the United States.
They found that whites had the highest risk of developing Ewing's sarcoma (155 cases per 100,000), followed by Asians/Pacific Islanders (82 cases per 100,000) and African Americans (17 cases per 100,000).
Incidence of the disease in whites has increased over the past three decades, the researchers also noted.
Ewing's tumors often show up in childhood or early adulthood, occurring anywhere in the body. Common sites are in the pelvis, chest and long bones of the legs and arms. Symptoms include noticeable lumps under the skin and bone pain.
According to the American Cancer Society, several treatments are used, including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Five-year survival is good if the tumor is caught early, but poor if it has spread.
More work needs to be done to determine why whites have higher rates of Ewing's sarcoma, the researchers said.
Scully said he hopes the study will begin to shed light on the racial and gender disparities, perhaps leading to better therapies in the future.
The American Cancer Society has more on Ewing's sarcoma.